Wendell Berry: Money in Lieu of Action

Posted by admin on Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Wendell Berry Money Quote saying giving our money is seen as a replacement for giving our selves, our time and our energy toward caring about others. Wendell Berry said:
The giving of money has become characteristic virtue. Money given in lieu of action, thought, care, time Quote

“Akin to the idea that time is money is the concept, less spoken but as commonly assumed, that we may be adequately represented by money. The giving of money has thus become our characteristic virtue. But to give is not to do. The money is given in lieu of action, thought, care, time” — Wendell Berry


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In this quote, Wendell Berry is criticizing how the treatment of money as a proxy for meaningful action and engagement has become pervasive in society. He suggests the idea that “time is money” leads people to assume they can substitute monetary donations for direct involvement through “action, thought, care, time.”

Berry argues this allows people to feel virtuous by merely “giving money” instead of committing themselves through hands-on work or sustained attention to important issues. He implies this lets people avoid true participation and responsibility by substituting financial contributions which require little effort.

The overall interpretation is that Berry views over-reliance on monetary donations as a replacement for personal investment as problematic. According to Berry, giving money alone does not equate to genuine involvement or problem-solving, since “to give is not to do.” He advocates direct civic participation over superficial philanthropy as a way to address societal problems and represent important causes through dedicated action rather than detached financial support alone.

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